By PST Contributor: Des Boodram
August 14th, 2016
Ok, loaded may be a bit of an overstatement, but the Missouri football program is one year older on offense, and that added experience is expected to go a long way. With a new offensive coordinator in place Sophomore QB Drew Lock should progress, and may come close to realizing the potential he was said to have when initially recruited. The verdict will be reached likely after the season is over, though that may not be entirely fair.
He will be on his 3rd offensive coordinator in three seasons including high school, and statistics across football at the college level and beyond show that a QB is more effective when given some semblance of consistency, which usually revolves around the coaching personnel implementing the playbook.
Will Missouri Un-Lock the Playbook
Who knows how good Lock could’ve been in a different system like LSU, or Florida, but the truth remains he’ll get his fair chance to show off his ceiling this season and hopefully beyond. Let’s see what he’s working with.
The story of the season on offense will be upperclassmen vs underclassmen, and whether the end result will translate the way that it should. Last season underclassmen accounted for over 60% of the total offense including catches, yardage and scoring, and it was a colossal struggle.
This year, everyone now has an additional year of experience under their helmets and will look to Lock to lead them. Juniors Nate Brown and J’Jon Moore will be expected to lead and will be complimented nicely by Alabama transfer Chris Black who had a phenomenal spring.
Black could be a monstrous X factor for the offense that should be much more efficient this season. Naturally any efficiency attained will hinge on the effectiveness of the running game, which was non-existent last season for a multitude of reasons. Missouri goes into the season with some depth at RB with Russell Hansbrough, Ish Witter and Trevon Walters, all of who are expected to contribute.
The O-line is not deep or experienced for the most part, so Tiger nation needs to keep their fingers crossed for this unit to be special, because if they are not scrappy all other levels of this offense will be stifled as well.
It’s much easier to be more optimistic on the defensive side of the football. The defensive line will be as good as any in the SEC, but may be overshadowed by an inadequate offense as they were last season. Constantly backed up with horrible field position and always playing from behind, this defense was never able to get in a rhythm in conference play.
It could be tough trucking again, but that doesn’t discount the fact that this unit has several players that will play on Sundays, including Charles Harris, Walter Brady, and Sophomore Terry Beckner. The Tigers seem set at linebacker and in the are almost there in the secondary as well, with multiple playmakers at each level. This defense will be Tiger strong.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – How Many Wins for the Tigers
Predicting the season will be difficult with so many variables including an all-new system, and depth and experience issues. The defense and offensive must complement each other and whether that’s even possible should be a concern.
This new system could make a world of difference for QB Drew Lock, and if it does the Tigers will be bowl bound. Realistically expect Missouri to fall short of that finishing 5-7 at best with just too much to overcome.
The Missouri Tigers are a +10.5 point Road Underdog in Week 1 vs. the West Virginia Mountaineers. Get all of your College Football Odds in the PST daily lines section.